Best off presentation of process flows

Qualygirl

Involved In Discussions
#1
Hello;

Which process flow representation has turned out to be the "best off representation" in practice?
I should restructure my processes!
Which details belong in the process?
 
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Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#2
Hello Qualygirl,

There are so many types of process flow diagrams that I would not want to claim a particular type is best practice. My best advice it to not make it too difficult. What really matters is that you include all of the steps that could impact quality, from material receipt to shipping.
 

Qualygirl

Involved In Discussions
#3
Hello Jen Kirley,
thanks.
However, one type should have particularly distinguished itself in the presentation among the users.
There is no recognizable focus there
Which is your favorite?
Please Example.
 

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#4
The simplest is a block diagram. You are only identifying process steps, which would each be controlled in detail though procedures and/or control plan. A process FMEA would be expected to address each of the steps in the process flow diagram.

Some people like to use a flow chart method, which I like at least as much but want to encourage you to not over-complicate it at this early process definition point.

I am not affiliated with Researchgate or Jarltech.
 

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#5
Qualygirl,

Swimlane or deployment flowcharts have additional advantages.

They show who is responsible for a task within a process. They can also show who makes the record and who receives the record. Who chairs the meeting and who attends.

Who provides the input and who receives the output and who has the authority to make decisions.

They can also show the process objective.

TeamFlow - Home
 

Tagin

Trusted Information Resource
#8
Hello,
both.
a.) structure better, clearer
b.) document in more detail
My personal preference is to start at a higher-level view and then work down. So, for me:
  • Begin with a PDCA diagram of the process.
    • Am I adequately and efficiently covering all 4 quadrants?
  • Historically, what has been deficient about this process? Such as:
    • Nonconformances
    • Confusions/Delays (e.g., poor KPIs)
    • Past audit concerns/suspicions about this process
    • Handoff issues
  • Based on the historical issues and PDCA shortcomings, I'd create a flowchart (typical Visio style). If handoffs were a major issue, I might use a swimlane flowchart format.
  • If making a flowchart still seems unclear/hazy/etc. about what is going on, I might back up and do a SIPOC diagram (again, move up to a higher-level view) to make absolutely clear what is coming in from who, and what is going out to who.
    • I also then like to add in points of control (just brief high-level descriptions) into the SIPOC, such as:
      • Supplier controls
      • Receiving/storage controls
      • In-process controls
      • Output controls
      • Shipping controls
  • By this point, I should be ready to make a concise but detailed flowchart.
  • Then, it becomes a question of: who is the audience for this information?
    • What flowchart aspects need to be spelled out in procedural text steps or more detailed sub-flowcharts, etc.
    • What will the users of this information actually understand?
      • E.g., PDCA and SIPOC are for my use. Line workers aren't going to understand or be helped by them. For them, I want to use diagrams and text that meet their needs, not mine.

So...something like that. The order may change some, and this process is iterative and typically involves collaboration, to get at what really is going on and what really is falling short.

Re collaboration in improving processs: line workers often do heroic work to get product out by inventing their own workarounds and efficiency improvements to weak or poorly designed processes, which then become tribal undocumented procedure for them. As part of collaboration, rather than chastise them for not following written procedure, they need to be encouraged to bring these ideas forward so they can get the recognition that is due them, and so they can see it integrated into improved process documentation. If such improvements can't be made due to some requirements, then when made aware of it ("alas, we can't bypass that step because of this customer requirement...") it usually leads to better compliance awareness on their part.
 

John Broomfield

Staff member
Super Moderator
#9
May I offer my 2 cents?

The organization exists to convert customer needs into cash in the bank (or continued funding).

That is the system of interacting processes that determines the quality of services and products delivered.

PDCA greatly influences the questions asked of top management when analyzing the core process (to determine the key processes) and of the process owners when analyzing each of the system’s key processes and their interactions.
 

RoxaneB

Change Agent and Data Storyteller
Super Moderator
#10
Hello;

Which process flow representation has turned out to be the "best off representation" in practice?
I should restructure my processes!
Which details belong in the process?
Hi, Qualygirl...you've received some wonderful guidance in the earlier posts, I'd like to continue down the pathway that @Tagin started. Tagin asks "What will the users of this information actually understand?"

This is key!

I grew up on process maps, yet it turns out that the company I currently work for has a workforce that doesn't understand them. The staff here prefer work instructions - line-by-line, detailed documents.

Before you start revamping your documentation, I highly encourage you to ask the users what they prefer. It might be as simple as creating some examples for them. Write out a detailed work instruction for how to make a perfect cup of coffee. Then create a process map (I personally prefer one that uses swim lanes showing accountability, so you have both the "who" and the "what", and an implied "when"). If you have a third method for documenting the process, even better.

Then let the staff decide. You may find that front line staff prefer one style while support and leadership prefer another. This is completely okay. Flexibility is vital within any management system.
 
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